At the beginning of October, a group of modern-day pilgrims set off from St James’ Church in the historic parish of Louth, and made their way to Lincoln Cathedral as part of a series of 3 new pilgrimages, called “Journeys of Faith”, designed to celebrate social justice and religious freedom.

Over the centuries, pilgrims made their way across England to various places of worship, including Lincoln Cathedral and “Journeys of Faith” now provide a unique and exciting opportunity to travel to the Cathedral in the paths of those ancient pilgrims.

Louth was chosen as the first of the “Journeys” to be launched because of its connection to the Lincolnshire uprising, which began on 1 October 1536, when members of the local congregation marched to Lincoln to protest religious changes that King Henry VIII was about to enforce. The second and third pilgrimages will be setting off from Epworth and Boston in 2019. 

As a modern-day pilgrimage, “Journeys of Faith” can be enjoyed by anyone of any age and of any faith. The inaugural pilgrimage in October saw participants, walk, cycle, motorcycle, drive, and take buses and boats to make their way, via 15 churches, to the Cathedral. This was to demonstrate that bringing people together to reflect on spiritual issues and to enjoy the rich history and beauty of Lincolnshire is more important than the mode of transport and that pilgrimage can be fun! 

Of course, some people may simply enjoy the “Journeys” as a walk in the countryside, appreciating nature’s beauty and seeing the changing seasons throughout the year but it’s also a great opportunity for people to share their stories and experiences with each other – like a modern-day Canterbury Tales.

The “Journeys of Faith Guidebook: a pilgrimage from Louth-Lincoln” contains complete walking guides and maps, historical and spiritual information and a Pilgrim Passport to record your Journey. It can be purchased online or in the Cathedral Shop at a price of £9.95 from 1 October 2018.

“Journeys of Faith” is being facilitated by the Lincoln Cathedral Connected project.  

Words by: Alan Wilson, Journeys of Faith Team Leader

Click here to purchase your Journeys of Faith guidebook online now.
Walking in the footsteps of history – Modern pilgrimage to Lincoln Cathedral set off from Louth

A group of ‘modern-day pilgrims’ set off from St James’ Church in the historic parish of Louth, making their way to Lincoln Cathedral as part of Journeys of Faith, a pilgrimage to celebrate social justice and religious freedom.

Over the centuries, pilgrims made their way across England to various places of worship, including Lincoln Cathedral. Journeys of Faith’s starting point of Louth was chosen because of its connection to the Lincolnshire uprising in 1536, when members of the local congregation marched to Lincoln to protest religious changes that King Henry VIII had introduced.

Louth is the first pilgrimage of three as part of Journeys of Faith, with the second and third setting off from Epworth and Boston in 2019.

As part of the launch event, the journey was spread over five days and saw participants walk, bike, motorcycle, drive and take boats and buses on their modern-day pilgrimage, visiting 15 churches on the route and appreciating nature’s beauty along the way. The pilgrims were made very welcome, receiving warm hospitality at each of these churches which are an integral part of the pilgrimage.

The aim of the pilgrimage is to bring people together and reflect on spiritual issues, with participants encouraged to reflect on the spiritual paths they’re taking as they traverse the physical path of the pilgrimage.

The Very Reverend Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln said: “Networks of ancient pilgrim routes are being rediscovered and reimagined all over the world and we’re thrilled to bring Journeys of Faith to Lincolnshire.

“Lincolnshire has a fantastic, rich history; its people founded a monastery, negotiated the Magna Carta, marched in thousands against the dissolution of the monasteries, sailed across the Atlantic, and composed hundreds of hymns. The Journeys of Faith pilgrimage embraces much of that local history as well as the people, places and events that have shaped religious freedoms and social justice over the centuries. It’s a great opportunity for people to share their stories and experiences with each other – like a modern-day Canterbury Tales.

“Journeys of Faith would not be possible without the amazing support of everyone involved and we are extremely grateful to our Journeys of Faith team of volunteers for providing a unique and exciting opportunity to come to Lincoln Cathedral in the steps of ancient pilgrims whilst taking a break from the routine business of daily life. We hope all participants have a wonderful experience and discover something about themselves along the way and encourage people of all walks of life to join us on the journeys.”

Fern Dawson, collections & engagement officer at Lincoln Cathedral, said: “Journeys of Faith is a great way to encourage new audiences to engage with the wider county of Lincolnshire, using Lincoln Cathedral as a final destination. It encourages all ages, all faiths to get out and enjoy nature, consider the stories which our historic churches tell and enjoy self-discovery.”

More information on Journeys of Faith can be found on the Cathedral website or by visiting the Cathedral shop and speaking to a member of staff. The “Journeys of Faith Guidebook: a pilgrimage from Louth-Lincoln” can be purchased online or in the Cathedral Shop for £9.95.

Journeys of Faith can be enjoyed by anyone of any age and of any faith and is facilitated by Lincoln Cathedral Connected, a project which has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players and awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “We are delighted that the community involvement programme associated with the Lincoln Cathedral Connected grant is being used in such imaginative ways. In addition to the physical improvements to the Cathedral, events such as Journeys of Faith add a spiritual dimension to the excellent project, all of which is possible thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players.”

For more information about the Journeys of Faith pilgrimage or if you are planning your own group pilgrimage please email: rma@lincolncathedral.com

The Journeys of Faith guidebook is available to purchase from the Cathedral shop and by clicking here.

Daily Updates from the Launch Pilgrimage:
Day One:

Wonderful day walking from Louth to Welton le Wold, stopping at South Elkington along the way.

Our Journey of Faith got off to a wonderful start due to the warm welcome and generous hospitality received at Louth, St James. We were given a fascinating tour by the Rev’d Nick Brown  and his team. After considering the rich history of this holy place, we paused for prayer and set off on our Pilgrimage.

Following the Pilgrim Guide Book , we walked through the beautiful Wold countryside to South Elkington , All Saints and onwards to Welton le Wold, St Martin’s. We were met with coffee and smiles by Peter Taylor and Alistair Kerr and enjoyed a bring and share picnic lunch.

Look forward to driving to St Mary’s Church in Hainton tomorrow from St Martin’s

Day Two:

We all gathered at Welton le Wold, St Martin’s at 10am eager and ready to resume our Journeys of Faith pilgrimage.  Our group consisted of a classic Bentley car, three motorbikes (two Harley Davidsons and a Honda) and, of course, their passengers, riders and drivers.

The first port of call was Ludford, St Mary and St Peter where we congregated in the church yard to discuss the questions raised in the “to ponder” section of our guidebooks.

We then moved on to Tealby, All Saints where we were the recipients of some lovely chocolate cake and tea before exploring this beautifully situated church. We appreciated Rector Chris’s and the Churchwarden’s kind hospitality.

Our next place of pilgrimage was Market Rasen, St. Thomas and, once again we had reason to be grateful to the Churchwarden who was there to greet us and tell us about the history of the church.

Lunch was enjoyed at the Aston Arms and here we were joined by a shiny red MG Midget, its driver and passenger.

Legsby, St Thomas the Apostle, staffed by another friendly and knowledgable Churchwarden was our next destination.

Our final lap saw us arrive at Hainton, St. Mary where the Churchwarden proudly showed us the marvelous and impressive Heneage tombs. A wonderful day ended at 4.20pm as we all returned home feeling truly blessed.

Day Three:

Had a great time cycling to St Giles Church today, stopping at St Mary Hainton, St Martin South Willingham and St Mary East Barkwith on the way to St Giles Langton by Wragby.

The day was not without incident! Although all the bikes had been checked prior to the ride, one developed a slow puncture which required a few stops for tyre inflation and a second suffered a snapped chain which resulted in a helping push from a fellow pilgrim where it was safe to do so. We also had a lost sole (from someone’s shoe!)

Despite these seeming setbacks, our pilgrims pressed on to be warmly welcomed by local churchwardens at each of the destinations. Our guidebooks were a constant companion as we read about the history of the churches, written by our Journeys of Faith historian, Judi Jones.

There was also time for some spiritual reflection prompted by sections of the guidebook written by the Revd Dr Sally Myers, our Journeys of Faith theologian.

We were also delighted to be joined by Alison and Porsche of Lincoln BIG on our pilgrimage cycling day. Also thanks to Tony Wilson for providing a back up vehicle and making sure refreshments were available at our stopping points.

Join us tomorrow as we walk from All Saints Church in Wragby and then travel by minibus to St Clement’s in Fiskerton.

Day Four:

Our pilgrims, accompanied by Rupert the dog, made it safely from All Saints Wragby to St Clement of Rome at Fiskerton, stopping at St Andrew’s, one of the smallest churches in Lincolnshire, along the way.

The day began with a bus journey to Wragby where we were met by the Revd Mark Holden, who welcomed us to All Saints church. After exploring the church with him we read the accompanying text in our Journeys of Faith guidebooks, concluding with a reading from Philippians 3.

We then commenced our walk, referring to the map and walking instructions written in the guidebook by our Journeys of Faith walk designer, John Harker.

It wasn’t long before we met a rambler, heading in the opposite direction, who stopped for a chat. He was soon convinced by John that a 50 mile pilgrimage would be a great idea!

The next unscheduled stop occurred when we met 2 friendly local farmers who had seen some media coverage of our previous day’s bike ride. John didn’t sell the idea of pilgrimage to them but they were very interested in our progress!

Arriving at Apley, we were warmly welcomed by the Church Treasurer and managed to attract another passing rambler into joining us as a pilgrim! Waiting for us with the Cathedral Choir minibus was Alex, one of the Cathedral’s Lay Vicars and choristers. We talked him into singing a requiem piece in St Andrews Church. It was sung beautifully and we all found it very moving.

Our next stop by minibus was at St Clement of Rome in Fiskerton where we were warmly welcomed by the Churchwarden who pointed out some very interesting historical features of the church. We again congregated to read the extract from the guidebook, covering the story of St. Clement, who was martyred in an unusual way.

We then walked a short distance for a pub lunch, which ended another inspirational day of pilgrimage.

Join us at the Brayford as we disembark from a narrow boat at 3:30pm tomorrow for the final leg of our journey to the Cathedral #JourneysOfFaith

Day Five:

Today is the final day of this week’s Journeys of Faith. The pilgrims are travelling from Fiskerton to Lincoln by narrowboat arriving at 3.30pm at Brayford ready to make their way to their final “Journeys” destination – Lincoln Cathedral.

Today We visited Fiskerton Fen, where our pilgrims enjoyed a bring and share picnic before surveying the wildlife across the main lake from a bird hide built in the style of a Bronze Age hut.

 

Pilgrimage is a journey but it doesn’t have to be on foot. For those with less time, other means of travel are perfectly acceptable. The journey is the main event, however it is made, and today we travelled from Fiskerton to the Brayford by narrowboat. We were very grateful to Derek and Barbara Wellman for taking us along the River Witham in their narrowboat, the Melita. Arriving in Lincoln we were joined by other pilgrims as we walked up Steep Hill to St Mary Magdalene’s church, where we were warmly welcomed by the Revd Adrian Smith.

A hundred yards later and we arrived at our final destination, Lincoln Cathedral, where we were greeted by the Dean of Lincoln and the Chancellor, who said a concluding prayer for us at St Hugh’s Shrine. We then received an embossed silver pilgrimage stamp in our guidebooks, to record the completion of our Journey.

Five wonderful days were over all too quickly, leaving a medley of marvellous memories. We have always appreciated the beautiful countryside in which we live but our journey from Louth to Lincoln Cathedral was something special. The visits to the churches were fascinating, and we were given a warm welcome wherever we went. Perhaps it was the weather, or the excellent company, or the wonderful scenery – or all of this, but this was an experience not to be missed.

Why not get your boots on, your bikes out or take any form of transport to enjoy your own Journey of Faith? You won’t be disappointed!

If you weren’t able to join us on our journey this week, you can always pick up a guidebook from the Cathedral or order one online.

Journeys of Faith Project Team Left to Right: The Revd Dr Sally Myers (Theologian), Michael Newstead (Photographer), Judi Jones (Historian), John Harker (Route Designer), Alan Wilson (Team Leader).